What is your hometown? 

Dhaka, Bangladesh

What are some unique experiences or memories for you, growing up?

One of the fondest memories is when I was selected to represent my high school in a Model United Nations conference in Delhi, India. It was my first time interacting with students from a different country, and being in a completely different environment for two weeks was an amazing developmental experience for me. I felt something very similar to that in my first few weeks in the US, and I’ve never looked back.

What brought you to Cleveland? 

I came to Cleveland as part of the Summer on the Cuyahoga program, after being offered an internship at a tech startup called BoxCast. 

What were your first thoughts about coming to the US? Did those change?

I grew up consuming American media in the form of American TV, American music, etc. so I was incredibly excited to come to the US for the first time and experience that culture first hand. I can happily say that I was welcomed into this wonderful country with open arms by not only the Colgate community, but by every part of America that I’ve travelled to in my short time here. 

How have people that you’ve met made you feel welcomed? 

Within my first week in America, I met a lovely couple who helped me move in, drove me to a shopping mall to get school supplies, and made me a home cooked meal. It’s a relationship that has endured to this day, and they still pick me up and drop me off at the airport in Syracuse (an hour and a half away from Hamilton) because that’s just the kind of people they are. This is just one of many examples of people making me feel like this is a home away from home. 

Are there any traditions or customs that you continue to practice? 

I love cooking, and cooking Bengali food is something I do daily. 

What do you love about Ohio? 

I love how open everyone is about trying to help. I reached out to people needing help for various things and I was met with a positive response every single time. The people I met in Cleveland have been amazing, and I can’t wait to go back. 

Why is it so important to welcome international newcomers? 

It’s important because having a home away from home is an essential part of finding happiness in foreign environment. I know that I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful academically or professionally if it wasn’t for how I was welcomed here.